Abels & Annes

Articles Posted in School Bus Accident

463.jpg To a lot of parents, school buses seem like an easy, safe way for their children to travel to and from school or to after school events. Buses are standard in many districts in Chicago and Illinois and a lot of parents do not think twice about having their children use a school bus. Most of the time, buses prove to be a safe means of transit for children and their parents and can be very helpful to those who may have no other way to get their kids to school.

But like other vehicles, school buses are involved in accidents from time to time. When a school bus collision occurs, those on board or those in another vehicle involved in the impact may sustain injuries. If the bus is crowded, dozens of students on board may be at risk for potential injuries ranging from bumps and bruises to broken bones and head injuries. In the worst of the Chicago-area school bus accidents, children may lose their lives.

The laws that govern traffic accidents in Chicago are designed to hold an at-fault driver responsible for the injuries caused in a collision. This means that a minor injured in a school bus crash may be entitled to relief for the damages sustained, including pain and suffering, scarring, and the cost of medical bills incurred to be incurred in the future. Speaking with a lawyer who handles school bus accident cases in Chicago may help you understand whether your child has a valid claim if your family has been affected by a crash.

Authorities in Chicago were alerted to a school bus accident this morning and responded to A.N. Pritzker School on West Schilling Street to investigate. When they arrived, they determined that nine children were hurt and needed to be transported to area hospitals for treatment. Five of the nine were taken to Norwegian-American Hospital while the remaining four children were treated at St. Mary Medical Center. All nine children were expected to recover.

Police are still trying to determine exactly what happened, what vehicles were involved, and whether a mistake on the part of anyone involved in the crash contributed to the accident. Their investigation is ongoing at this time and it is not known whether any traffic tickets will be issued as a result of the incident.
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Small.jpg The third week in October every year is designated as National School Bus Safety Week, a time for parents, teachers, bus drivers, bus companies, community members, and others to be reminded of the dangers associated with bus transit and some of the basic safety procedures to follow to ensure all riders remain safe.

Nationally, thousands of districts are believed to participate in National School Bus Safety Week by implementing their own activities, whether they occur in the classroom or on the bus. The basic idea is that by reminding young students, their parents, and other drivers about school bus safety procedures, more people will put safety first and fewer accidents will result.

This year, school districts are being encouraged to remind students to be alert and be aware while at a bus stop and to remind others to do the same. This includes staying out of the “danger zone,” an area that is 10 feet around the bus and where a bus driver cannot see a student. To make sure they are not in the danger zone, students are encouraged to stay five giant steps away from the curb or the bus at all times until the bus comes to a stop and the student is able to board.

Other reminders are that students should always cross in front of the bus and never behind it and that if something falls underneath the bus, the student should always tell the bus driver and never try to retrieve it him or herself.

Even if you do not have school-aged children who ride a bus, National School Bus Safety Week can still apply to you. Many state and local laws govern school bus traffic procedures and how other drivers must act when near an operating bus. For example, drivers should remember that many buses stop and yield at railroad tracks to confirm no rail traffic is present before crossing. Also, in many areas, cars are not permitted to pass a school bus that has stopped to pick up students, Failing to heed these rules can result in a traffic citation, or worse, an accident with a child.

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463.jpg A 42-year-old South Elgin woman was arrested Friday for suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol. What made this incident particularly distressing to many parents was that the woman was a school bus driver and was driving her assigned route at the time she was arrested.

It is unclear at this time whether any children were on the bus but authorities have stated that the woman was pulled over after a school employee reported that the employee smelled alcohol on the school bus driver’s breath. The driver was pulled over in West Chicago where police officers performed a field sobriety test, leading to her removal from the bus and arrest by the officers.

At this time, the school bus driver has been charged with aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol and bond has been set at $100,000. If the woman is convicted, she could face up to three years incarcerated in prison as well as being labeled a convicted felon.

Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is very dangerous and puts the lives of all other drivers at risk. For this reason, Illinois makes it illegal to drive a motorized vehicle under the influence of alcohol and it presumes that drivers are drunk when their blood alcohol levels are 0.08 or higher. However, merely having a BAC below 0.08 does not mean that a motorist is not under the influence; in fact, any driver who is affected by alcohol can be cited for driving intoxicated, regardless of what his or her BAC is at the time of arrest.

School bus drivers are held to a different, and higher, standard than average drivers on Illinois roads. There is no leniency when it comes to school bus drivers and alcohol. Illinois law forbids any school bus driver to operate a bus while there is any alcohol in his or her system, and a violation of this prohibition is breaking the law. The rules are much stricter when it comes to school bus operators because of the nature of their jobs and those who ride as passengers. A fully loaded school bus can easily carry in excess of 50 students, all of whom place their safety and security in the hands of the driver. With so many people on board, it would be easy for an accident to turn catastrophic in a moment. Decreasing the risks faced by these children decrease the odds of a school bus accident and increase the chances that all children will remain safe while traveling to and from school.

On average, there are over four school bus accidents every day in Illinois, many of which result in injuries to the children on board. As a child is not driving the bus and is otherwise not in control of the bus’s movement, the children hurt in these accidents tend to be innocent victims. After a crash, a parent might face expensive medical bills for treatment of their child as well as the devastation that an accident can cause.
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461.jpg A school bus transporting children through Wicker Park was involved in an accident on Tuesday afternoon when it collided with another vehicle. In all, 22 children on the bus were taken to area hospitals to be examined and treated for injuries they sustained in the crash. The current condition of the children and the extent of their injuries are not currently known, but the Chicago Fire Department stated that all of the children were in “good to fair” condition at the time of hospitalization.

The Chicago Police Department responded to the scene of the collision between the school bus and a car which occurred near the intersection of North Milwaukee Avenue and North Ashland Avenue in Chicago. The details of the crash are not yet clear as police continue their investigation. It is also not clear whether either driver was cited in the crash or is expected to be cited. Officials were able to confirm that the large number of injured students required them to be split among area hospitals including Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, and Rush University Medical Center.

While it is not yet known which driver caused the crash, it is clear that the young passengers on the bus were not at-fault. Yet they were the ones who suffered and were injured as the result of the negligent conduct of a driver. As victims, they may incur medical bills and expenses, may be forced to miss time from school or summer camps, may require care by their parents who may have to miss work, and could suffer from lifetime effects, including scars, permanent injuries, and pain.

To protect those like these innocent bus passengers, the law provides for the possibility of a financial recovery through the use of a civil claim. Depending on the facts of the accident, the drivers involved, and the amount of insurance coverage available, if any, each student could have multiple claims for their losses. Claims may be made against the bus driver, the bus company, the school district or organization running or operating the bus, the driver of the other car, or even against an uninsured or underinsured provision of the automobile insurance carried by a parent of an injured child.

School bus accidents can be minor or severe. Some may result in no injured children and yet others can cause death. We have seen children with broken bones, neck and back injuries, cuts and abrasions from broken glass, head injuries, post traumatic stress, and even death through our representation of school bus accident victims.
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A school bus driver involved in a fatal collision near Wadsworth earlier this month will not face any charges, according to the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office. At least one witness at the scene of the crash originally indicated the bus driver ran a red light, but officials say that witnesses gave conflicting statements thereafter regarding the cause of the collision. 604402_bus.jpg

On April 5, the school bus collided with two SUVs at the intersection of Highway 173 and Kilbourne Road, resulting in the death of one of the SUV drivers. A toxicology report on the victim showed what is believed to be prescription drugs in the SUV driver’s system at the time of the crash, adding speculation as to the cause of the collision.

There were 35 children on board the bus that morning which was traveling to Newport Elementary School in Wadsworth. The collision demolished one of the SUVs, caused significant damage to the other, and caused the school bus to roll on its side. In all, 37 people were injured.

In most collisions, people who are injured by the negligence of another driver have a right to bring a claim against at-fault driver’s insurance. The claim may be made to cover things like medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering. If the deceased driver of the SUV is determined to be at-fault in this crash, the adults and students on the bus may be able to bring claims against the SUV driver’s insurance.

Most individual automobile insurance policies do not have limits high enough to cover all of the people injured in this collision. Illinois law requires drivers to have a minimum of $20,000 per person and $40,000 per collision in insurance coverage though drivers can carry a greater amount. Even with a large insurance policy, there may not be enough money to cover the damages caused by a crash.

If your damages are greater than the negligent driver’s insurance, you may also have an underinsured motorist claim. In this type of claim, your own insurance company will “step into the shoes” of the at-fault driver and provide another source of potential monetary compensation for your claim.

Many people have private insurance policies that provide underinsured motorist coverage in case of a crash with significant injuries and a small insurance policy. In the case of the crash between the school bus and the SUV, the children on board the school bus may be covered by an underinsured provision in their parents’ policy and/or an underinsured provision in the policy covering the school bus. Some buses provide this type of coverage to their passengers, including PACE, while other buses, like the CTA, do not. It depends on the language of the insurance policy at issue.
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There was a terrible bus accident this morning in the north suburbs of Chicago. Early reports indicate that the driver of a school bus ran a red light and collided with two SUVs near Wadsworth. The driver of one of those SUVs was killed in the collision, according to the Chicago Tribune.

A Lake County Sheriff described the collision as nearly a t-bone with all vehicles suffering significant damage. The SUV of the person killed was destroyed from the rear seat forward and the bus fell over and landed on its side, shattering several windows.

The collision occurred at the intersection of Highway 173 and Kilbourne Road in Newport Township with the bus reportedly was on its way to Newport Elementary School to drop off students for the day.

Children from the bus were examined at the scene and placed either on another bus with paramedics or in ambulances to be transported to hospitals. Two passengers in an SUV and 35 students from the bus were injured and examined. The driver of the bus did not appear to sustain any serious injuries but was shaken and upset at the scene.

Most of the children, believed to be in grades kindergarten through fifth, appeared to suffer minor injuries including bumps and bruises. However there were fractured hands, head injuries, and other broken bones. Some of the students were distraught at the scene and crying for their parents.

At least one eye witness stated that the bus driver ran a red light. Area residents said the light was just installed last year and that its presence had made some of the neighbors feel safer.

Unfortunately school buses are often involved in collisions and cause injuries to thousands of children every year. In 2008, 123 school-aged children were injured in school bus collisions in Illinois alone with another 71 non school-aged passengers injured as well. Since most children do not wear seat belts on school buses, they have a high risk of serious injury, especially when a bus rolls over as it did in this case.

It can be particularly scary to have a child involved in a school bus accident because parents entrust the safety of their children to bus drivers. Most parents believe that a school bus and their drivers are safe and will put the safety of the children first. However that does not always happen.

Bus drivers, like any other driver, can be guilty of driving negligently. Bus drivers can run red lights, speed, follow too closely, and get distracted just like other negligent drivers. However the risks associated with negligence are much higher for bus drivers because they are often responsible the safety of dozens of children at any given time.

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1363811_wheels_on_a_bus-sxchu-username-johnnyberg.jpgA school bus reportedly struck several vehicles in a chain-reaction crash that occurred in suburban Niles. According to Park Ridge Fire Deputy Chief Jeff Sorensen, at least five crashes took place on Oakton Street between Prospect Avenue and Greenwood Avenue along the border between the towns of Park Ridge and Niles. Sorensen said the westbound bus allegedly hit several vehicles and kept traveling. In addition, at least one vehicle was reportedly struck head-on and another caught fire. Still another automobile was allegedly forced into a nearby house where it purportedly caused structural damage to the garage.

The exact cause of the incident is now under investigation by the Park Ridge Police Department. Authorities stated the chain of crashes may have resulted from a medical emergency that involved the school bus driver. Thankfully, the school bus was not carrying any children at the time of the traffic wreck. Sorensen stated paramedics transported at least one adult to Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge with undisclosed injuries following the accident.

Although there were no children on board the school bus involved in this particular incident, a situation like this could have resulted in tragedy. Data from the Illinois Department of Transportation states there were 2,418 school bus crashes throughout Illinois in 2008. As a result of those accidents, 123 students and 99 school bus drivers were injured. Since students generally do not wear seat belts while riding school buses, the injuries children may suffer in a collision can be catastrophic or fatal. Common injuries children may suffer during a school bus crash include back, neck, and traumatic brain injuries, and fractured bones. The parents of a student who was injured while riding a school bus in Illinois may bring a lawsuit on behalf of their child in order to recover medical expenses, suffering and pain, loss of normal life, and a number of other damages. If your child was hurt in a Chicago area school bus wreck, you are advised to discuss your case with a skilled personal injury lawyer immediately.
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Illinois is already one of the states in the United States that has banned the use of cell phones by drivers in school and work zones and has banned all drivers from text messaging in an attempt to reduce the frequency of distracted driving car accidents in Illinois, according to the Governors Highway Safety Administration. While many motorists ignore these safe driving laws, they may soon have another force fighting their distracted driving habits. A proposed federal law. Introduced by Rep. Carolyn McCarthy, D-N.Y., aims to federalize driving and cell phone usage. These types of laws are currently managed by individual states– and sometimes even cities as is the case with Chicago’s cell phone ban.
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Our Chicago car accident attorneys hope that this proposed legislation will one day serve as additional ammo in the fight against distracted drivers. The proposed bill would direct the U.S. Department of Transportation to set up a standard for the entire country that would prohibit hand-held cell phone use while driving.

“Driving while making a phone call, texting or using apps can be as dangerous as driving drunk, and much more common,” Rep. McCarthy said. “With some basic commonsense rules that are already in place in some parts of the country, we can reduce injuries and save lives in America.”

There are a few exclusions to this proposed law. Drivers would still be allowed to use voice-operated, vehicle-integrated devices, as well as voice-operated GPS systems. Even though there are cognitive distractions still present with hands-free devices, they pose a much less serious problem than using a hand-held device.

Under the proposed bill, the Department of Transportation would be required to conduct a study on distracted driving. This study would be required to focus on the issue of cognitive distraction and the impact of distraction on newly licensed, young drivers. Within two years of the completed study, the DOT would then be required to report its findings to Congress. Recommendations for revising the minimum distracted driving prohibitions and penalties must accompany this report. These newly proposed minimum distracted driving prohibitions would be mandatory for all states. Each state would then be allotted two years to comply with the law or lose a quarter of their federal highway funding.

Currently, each state is able to create their own laws regulating cell phone and texting use. Some states offer strict laws to prevent distracted driving while others have absolutely no restrictions at all. A majority of states ban teenagers from using cell phones while driving. Texting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle is forbidden in some 30 states. If this proposed bill becomes law, the entire country would be put under a seamless law that would require all motorists to follow it or face the consequences.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nearly 5,500 people died because of car accidents that involved a distracted driver in 2009. These accidents accounted for roughly 1 in 6 of all motor-vehicle accident related fatalities that year.
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An Illinois school bus crash that occurred Thursday morning on the South side of Chicago resulted in nine people being injured, and several hurt were special education students, the Chicago Tribune is reporting. All of the injured were taken to area hospitals after two school buses and a truck were involved in a traffic collision.

The three vehicle accident took place around 7 AM in the area of Ashland Avenue and 76th Street. Chicago Fire Department ambulances took five of the injured to Holy Cross Hospital, 2 to St. Bernard Hospital and 2 to Little Company of Mary Hospital. There were reportedly no life-threatening injuries, and all were in good to fair condition.

The two school buses involved were from two different companies contracted by the Chicago Board of Education. What caused the accident has not been reported.

A Chicago area school bus accident occurred on Thursday around 5 PM when a bus drove through a brick wall into a classroom in South Suburban Orland Park. Trib Local in Orland Park is reporting that the accident occurred at Central Junior High School, part of Orland School District 135. The bus was on school grounds for a volleyball game.

The crash reportedly occurred when the accelerator pedal stuck to the floor and would not release. By Thursday night maintenance crews started work to repair the damage.

The Orland Park Police Department is investigating the accident. No injuries have been reported and no children were on the bus at the time of the incident.